Early in the afternoon the wind was coming in black squalls, accompanied by a rolling mist. As I looked towards the mainland I saw a fishing boat coming, leaning hard to the strong gale. An hour later Sammy and his man landed in the tiny cove and the old fellow came rushing towards me.
“You is wanted to come ter onst,” he said. “They is a man come yisterday on that white yacht. He went up th’ river fur salmon, jist after his boat left, and bruk the leg o’ he slippin’ on the rocks. Yer got to come right now,”
I took the small package he brought me and rushed up to the house with it The improvement had continued, and I gave careful directions in regard to continuing the treatment. After this I descended to the tiny beach where the boat was waiting.
“She be nasty when yer gets from the lee o’ the island,” Sammy informed me. “I mistrust its gettin’ worse and some fog rollin’ in wid’ it. Mebbe yer doesn’t jist feel like reskin’ it?”
“How about your wife and children, Sammy?” I asked. “There is no one depending on me.”
He took a long look, quietly gauging the possibilities.
“I’m a-thinkin’ we’s like to make it all right,” he finally told me.
“And what about you and the little boy, Frenchy?” I asked the other man.
“Me go orright,” he answered. “Me see heem baby again.”
So we jumped aboard. The tiny cove was so sheltered that we had to give a few strokes of the oars before, suddenly, the little ship heeled to the blow.
From John Grant’s Diary
In a few minutes the slight protection afforded us by Will’s Island was denied us. I was anxious to ask further details about this injured man we were hurrying to see, but the two fishermen had no leisure for conversation. A few necessary words had to be shrieked. Even before I had finished putting on my oilskins the water was dashing over us, and old Sammy, at the tiller, was jockeying his boat with an intense preoccupation that could not be interfered with.
The smack was of a couple of tons’ burden, undecked, with big fish-boxes built astern and amidships. She carried two slender masts with no bowsprit to speak of, having no headsails, and her two tanned wings bellied out while the whole of her fabric pitched and rolled over the white crested waves. The fog was growing denser around us, as if we had been journeying through a swift-moving cloud. It was scudding in from the Grand Banks, pushed by a chill gale which might first have passed over the icy plateaux of inner Greenland.
This lasted for a long time. We were all staring ahead and seeking to penetrate the blinding veil of vapor, and I felt more utterly strayed and lost than ever in my life before. Our faces were running with the salt spray that swished over the bows or flew over the quarters, to stream down into the bilge at our feet, foul with fragments of squid and caplin long dead. We were also beginning to listen eagerly for other sounds than the wind hissing in the cordage, the breaking of wave-tops and the hard thumping of the blunt bows upon the seas.